UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health


Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health


General advice and guidelines


Things to bring with you

Make sure you bring with you everything you need to process your samples (PBS, pipettes, tips, FACS tubes, gloves, etc). The facility does not provide the above items. We can supply these items in case of emergency only, e.g. cracked FACS tubes.

Things to take away with you

Racks, ice buckets, pipettes and anything else you have brought with you. Anything left in the facility will be discarded.

When can you use the facility?

The lab is available for your use from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm. However, different rules apply during normal working hours (9.00am - 5.00pm, Monday to Friday) and outside normal working hours.

What to expect from facility staff

If you use the instruments during normal working hours, you can expect them to be warmed up and quality controlled, ready for your use. You can also expect to get help troubleshooting any instrument when you experience a problem.

What you should not expect from facility staff

Although we can be in earlier and later than the normal working hours, you can't necessarily count on it unless you have arranged it with us in advance. Therefore, outside normal working hours, life gets a bit more complex:

  • Check in advance to confirm that you know the correct start-up or shutdown procedures.
  • If you are starting the instruments in the morning before 9 am, allow about a 15 min for the lasers to warm up for CyAn and 30 min for LSRII and Calibur before they are ready for use. CytoFLEX can be used straight after startup program has finished (10 mins).
  • If you are working after 5pm, check the online booking system to see if you are the last person using the equipment that day. If you are, then shut down the instrument according to the procedure you have been shown during your training. If you are the last booked user for the day and you don't use the booked instrument, it is still your responsibility to shut it down.
  • Make sure you comply with any relevant lone worker procedures - see Charges and Conditions of Use.
Use PPMS to communicate with other users
  • The online booking system PPMS is used to book any cell analyser but can be also used to communicate with other users (e.g. Do I need to shut down the instrument or is someone following me at 7pm? Will someone have five minutes to spare sometime during the day?). Please therefore book accurately and as early as possible. If any machine is fully booked on a particular day, we cannot guarantee you will be able to read your samples.
  • Users should book enough time to read their samples and should free the instrument on time.
  • A user cannot use another user's slot without their consent. User who is delayed should ask next user for more time before the end of their slot. They have to clean and free the instrument on time in case the next user refuses to give them more time.
Why last-minute cancellation is not possible

The analysers and the sorters are often heavily used and time is at a premium. Last minute cancellations of time booked are a real inconvenience to people who are trying to plan experiments around availability. For this reason please read the cancellation procedures in the facility's conditions of use.

How can I book a sort?

As the sorts are performed by facility staff, the cell sorters MoFlo XDP, FACSAriaIII, and FACSMelody can ONLY be sending an email to facility's staff.

How early can I start my sort?

Cell sorting can be booked at any time of the day starting from 10 am (FACSMelody and FACSAriaIII)  or 11 am (MoFlo XDP). Earlier sorts are usually not possible because the cell sorters require a calibration period before use. However, early evening sorts are available by prior arrangement. It is essential that bookings for sorts are made in advance as facility staff will carry them out. Please be aware that some users need to book the sorters for a whole day. You are therefore advised to plan and book your experiments well in advance and to discuss your experimental protocol with us to ensure that sorting is feasible.

Data backup
  • Data files should always be recorded directly on the instrument's computer hard drive. Do not record data on attached devices because it will be lost.
  • USB memory sticks and external hard drives are not allowed to be used for data transfer. Please use the facility's S shared drive to transfer data files and then retrieve it from your computer.
  • Flow cytometry staff are not responsible for data files left on facility computers. All users are advised to transfer their files to their computers and store them elsewhere safely.
  • Analysis computers are cleaned regularly. Please transfer your analysis to your computer.
  • Any files left on any facility computer will be deleted without further notice.